The ADHD Weekly Blog from ADHD Experts

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ADHD: What is it? Does it work?

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a one to one therapy, for adolescents or adults, where a therapist teaches an ADHD patient how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interrelated and how each of these elements affects the others. CBT emphasizes cognition, or thinking, because a major goal of this therapy is to help patients identifying thinking patterns that lead to problem behaviors. For example, the therapist might discover that the patient frequently has negative automatic
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  • How do Stimulants Modulate the Brain to Improve ADHD Symptoms?

    The stimulants methylphenidate and amphetamine are well known for their efficacy in treating symptoms of ADHD in both youth and adults. Although these medications have been used for several decade, relatively little is known about the mechanisms of action that lead to their therapeutic effect. New data about mechanism comes from a meta-analysis by Katya Rubia and colleagues. They analyzed 14 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data sets comprising 212 youth with ADHD. Each of these
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  • How to Avoid False Positives and False Negatives when Diagnosing Adult ADHD?

    A recent paper by Margaret Sibley and colleagues addresses a key issue in the diagnosis of adult ADHD. Is it sufficient to only collect data from the patient being diagnosed or are informants useful or, perhaps, essential, for diagnosing ADHD in adults. Dr. Sibley presented as systematic review of twelve studies that prospectively followed ADHD children into adulthood. Each of these studies asked a simple question: What faction of ADHD youth continued to have ADHD in adulthood.
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  • Is Cognitive Behavior Therapy Effective for Treating Adult ADHD?

    The term “cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)” refers to a type of talk therapy that seeks to change the way patients think about themselves, their disorder and the world around them in a manner that will help them overcome symptoms and achieve life goals. Because CBT is typically administered by a psychologist or other mental health professionals, CBT services are not available in primary care. Nonetheless, it is useful for primary care practitioners to know about CBT so that they can refer
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  • Sluggish Cognitive Tempo and ADHD

    Over the past few decades, a consensus has emerged among psychopathologists that some patients exhibit a well-defined syndrome referred to as sluggish cognitive tempo or SCT. There are no diagnostic criteria for SCT because it has not yet been accepted as a separate disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. People with SCT are slow-moving, indolent and mentally muddled. They often appear to be lost in thoughts, daydreaming, drowsy or listless. In reviewing these symptoms and the
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  • Risky Decision Making and ADHD

    Adults with ADHD are more likely to have accidents, to drive unsafely, to have unsafe sex and to abuse substances. These ‘real world’ impairments suggest that people with ADHD may be predisposed to making risky decisions. Many studies have attempted to address this but is only recently that their results have been aggregated into a systematic review and meta-analysis. This paper by Dekkers and colleagues reports of 37 laboratory studies of risky decision making that studied a total of 1175
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  • Emotional Dysregulation and ADHD

    One of the many great contributions of Dr. Russell Barkley was his conceptualization of ADHD as a disorder of self-regulation. ADHD people have difficulties regulating their behavior, which lead to the classic diagnostic criteria of hyperactivity and impulsivity and they have problem regulating cognitive processes which leads to the well-known inattentive diagnostic criteria for the disorder. In a 2010 paper, Dr. Barkley argued persuasively that deficient emotional self-regulation should
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  • Neural Correlates of ADHD

    Neural Correlates of Symptom Improvement Following Stimulant Treatment in Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Zhen Yang, PhD, Clare Kelly, PhD, Francisco X. Castellanos, MD, Terry Leon, MS, Michael P. Milham, MD, PhD, and Lenard A. Adler, MD JOURNAL OF CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHOPHARMACOLOGY, p. 1–10,DOI: 10.1089/cap.2015.0243 Several prior studies have examined effects of stimulant medications on functional connectivity during resting state fMRI (R-fMRI). This study
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  • ADHD and Cognitive Function in Older Adults

    E. J. Semeijn, N. C. M. Korten, H. C. Comijs, M. Michielsen, D. J. H. Deeg, A. T. F. Beekman and J. J. S. Kooij. No lower cognitive functioning in older adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. International Psychogeriatrics: International Psychogeriatric Association 2015 doi:10.1017/S1041610215000010. The largest percentage growth in stimulant prescriptions in the last year is in adults over the age of 50 years of age (Adler LA. ADHD in Older Adults. Paper Presentation at
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  • Working Memory and ADHD

    This blog addresses the relationship between executive function deficits in general and working memory (WM) deficits in particular and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although some neuropsychological models of ADHD have proposed that ADHD arises from deficits in executive functions, accumulating clinical evidence show that it afflict some but not all individuals with ADHD and suggests that ADHD and executive function deficits represent separate clinical condition. Because
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